Narrated by Lilly Bere, On Canaan s Side opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill The story then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Sligo, at the end of the First World War, and follows her life through into the new world of America, a world filled with hope and danger.
Though this is only my second Sebastian Barry novel I feel I can recognize his voice now. First one I read of him it wasThe secret scripture and, as I found out later, it was part of a cycleMcNulty Family. This one in turn with other titles creates Dunne Family.Both novels being different are alike or perhaps it was the other way round. Maybe I’ll find accurate words to reviewThe secret scripture yet but now I focus on On Canaan’s Side. Lilly Dunne, well, let’s be exact, Lilly Dunne Kinder [...]
Sencillamente, magnífico! Después de leer Un caballero provisional no pude resistirme a leer algo más de este genial escritor y, con seguridad, ahora mismo empezaría otro libro suyo. En este caso, nos encontramos ante la historia de una mujer que tuvo que luchar por sobrevivir en una tierra nueva y desconocida como era Estados Unidos. Pero, sobre todo, creo que el escritor quiere hacernos reflexionar sobre el horror de la guerra y sus consecuencias.
The lad knows how to unspool a yarn, that is for certain. If you're planning to read this book, I would caution you against reading long detailed reviews about the plot and characters. The story really needs to unfold at the author's pace in the proper sequence. If you have hints of what's coming, it will dull your enjoyment of the book. JUST THE BASICS: Lilly is an 89-year-old woman who is preparing to take her own life. Her grandson Bill has committed suicide, which is just one too many losses [...]
It is the writing that makes this book special. Some lines are lyrical, for example when describing landscapes. Some are amusing, for example in dialogs. Some lines express in the most perfect words emotions, both jubilant and sad. Questions about existence and life and if one can even go on are written in words that speak to you. Well at least they did to me! Fear and loss and total aloneness, love and friendship and exuberant joy, betrayal and forgiveness are explored. This book movingly deals [...]
I started with a few quotations from Barry, to show the poetry of it all, and realized that I would end up quoting most of the book . What is the point?When I read, it is for myself alone: the closer and more personal the reading, in fact, the less I can speak of it to the outside world; and so, in the end, only the vaguest of impressions become transmuted, eventually, into a paragraph or two on the meaning of what I've just read: a phrase, a sentence to jog the memory and bring back to mind the [...]
When I started this book I just read the first 30 pages and did not get back to it until the next day and when I picked it up again I was hooked and could not put it down I really enjoyed this novel. I had previously read The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry and loved it so was looking forward to this book.This book is long listed for the Booker Prize and tells the story of 89 year old Lilly Dunne's departure from Ireland with her boyfriend Tadg who was a member of the Black and Tans and the [...]
I have read three of Sebastian Barry's books so far, The Secret Scripture, Annie Dunne and this one. In all of them, he shows himself to be capable of creating hugely memorable characters and of relaying their thoughts in such beautiful language that I find myself rereading passages frequently. This is writing to savour like good wine, full of intense expression and deep feeling. I think my favourite of the three is Annie Dunne because Barry hardly bothers with any plot at all so the spare story [...]
I love to cook. I do. I have a binder where I carry recipes and notes. I lug it from its shelf. A history of sorts and an old friend who soothes. I may have to add this advice, spoken to the main character in this wonderful book:'Heat is how that pot thinks, Lilly. It is like my grandma singing a lullaby, not too loud so you keep sleep away, not too soft and baby can't hear the words. Try and hear the heat, Lilly. Hear the pot thinking. You hear it, you hear it? It's there. You will. And when yo [...]
When I first tried reading Sebastian Barry's A Long Long Way, I had something of an adverse reaction and put it down; or rather, I threw it down, shouting why the fuck couldn't he just write one simple sentence without all that flowery, roundabout, get-there-in-the-end fluff and nonsense? In other words, there was something of a culture clash as this English boy found the Irish boy's use of language to be quite an alien thing. It wasn't until I heard Sebastian Barry read from the book that I got [...]
Sometimes I read a book in e-book format and I really wish I hadread it in paperback just so I can look at it on my bookshelffrom time to time and and remember how much I enjoyed it.This is one of those books.I enjoy Sebastian Barry's books so much.He is such a great storyteller.
I know a lot of people who weren’t familiar with Sebastian Barry’s work until the publication of the Booker shortlisted The Secret Scripture. Barry, however, has been around for quite some time. He’s written five novels now, a host of plays, and three poetry collections, and he’s collected several awards for his writing including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Independent Bookseller’s Prize, and the Irish Book Awards Prize for “Best Novel.” Those of us who’re familiar w [...]
I really wanted to love this book, with its naive yet poetic, rhythmic voice, but I could not. Instead, doubts clawed at me (what a spry crew of seniors up through nonagenerians we have in Lilly Bere, Mr. Nolan, Mr. Eugenides, etc. -- is it possible that an 89 year old could write her autobiography, including of her various forays from Bridgehampton beachside to village shops, and not have physical frailty, apart from the oddly featured constipation, enter into it? Are there too many coincidence [...]
I think this book wants to be an epic, but it never makes it. There are many wars, races, nations, events, but it just never comes together as a grand story. The major shortcoming is Lilly, the protagonist and narrator. Barry did a much stronger job of creating an aged Irish woman when he wrote Roseanne in The Secret Scripture. There are problems of voice with Lilly. Rarely does she speak as an Irish person, even though she was nearly twenty when she emigrated. The occasional little phrase is dr [...]
I've found another author of whom I want to read more. I see now that this is part of a series, but I think it is a series by GR standards, in that some of the people in the 4 novels appear in the other novels. At least I hope that is the case, because this is the 4th in the series and I'm hoping that they are all stand alone novels.This is a journal of sorts, so a first person narrative. It is one undertaken only upon the death of 89-year old Lilly Bere's grandson. In the first pages we know th [...]
I had a lot I wanted to say about this book, as I had just finished it, but then I got into a long, work-related conversation with a colleague, and now I find my brain mostly empty of thoughts where this book is concerned. That, perhaps, is a good indicator of how deeply affected I was by it. Mostly how I felt, by the end, was as though I was covered in a heavy smothering blanket of depression. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps that was the author’s goal in writing this book. When I read “ [...]
How can I do justice to such a wonderfully written book? This is the story of the life of Lilly Dunne. It is full of love, strategy and treachery. This is the first Dunne family book I have listened to but hopefully not the last.The narration by by Grainne Gillis was stunning and added to the sense of quiet dignity of the character.
I would have finished this book sooner, had I not loved it so much. As I told my friend, I spun the last few pages out like a stick of candy floss, I just could not bear for it to end. But there's no escaping the inevitable, and end it did. I don't think any review of this book from me could do it justice, I just feel I'm not up to the task. And although I loved, loved, LOVED it, I don't know if I understood the ending properly, so leaving that alone altogether. So for what it's worth, then, the [...]
Adembenemend mooi en dieptreurig tegelijk, dat zijn de twee dingen die in me opkomen als ik dit verhaal zou moeten kenschetsen. Sebastian Barry hanteert in deze roman dezelfde vertelvorm als in 'De geheime schrift': oude vrouw blikt terug op haar leven en zet haar verhaal op papier. In dit geval gaat het om Lilly Dunne uit Ierland die op haar negentiende noodgedwongen naar Amerika emigreert, samen met haar verloofde Tadg. Ik zal niet verklappen wat er vervolgens allemaal gebeurt, behalve dat hun [...]
I guess I'm alone in not liking this book. First, what everyone seems to think of a "lyrical" language is, to me, run on sentences that lose the point as they ramble. More times than once I had to stop and think "what on earth is the author getting at here?". Second, the strange, rambling plot contrivances that seemed to appear and disappear without resolutione serial killer? why was Joe's car at the location of the murders (or did the "lyrical" language cause me to miss some key revelation)?, t [...]
To put it simply: Sebastian Barry writes so beautifully, so poetically, that when I read his books I find myself almost ashamed to admit that I’m also a writer – and a jealous one at that. His prose is so deeply humane and so well-crafted that almost reads like verse; verse that makes you want to cry; no, not from sorrow, but from joy, for having the privilege of reading it. I’m not implying that the subject matters with which the good author is preoccupied are pleasant, quite the opposite [...]
This is the first book I've read by Sebastian Barry and it just happens to be his most recent book. I will be going back to his first novel and reading his work from the beginning. If On Canaan's Side is any evidence of his craft as a storyteller, I've found myself a new author to follow! storyteller! Spellbinding for sure!On Canaan's Side is the story of Irish immigrant, Lilly Bere. As the story opens, Lillly, now in her 80's, is mourning the recent death of her grandson, Bill. She cannot imagi [...]
As I neared the end of this novel, I felt, as Lily must have. that her death would also be the end of Willie, Annie Dunne and their father. They lived on only in her memory, Lily being the last of the family to die.Willie's experiences in World War I are told as he lived through them in the first novel of this trilogy, A Long, Long Way. Annie's, told in Annie Dunne. are plans for the future, as well as memories. Lily's are wholly in reminiscences. So brilliantly is each done that you feel as the [...]
This is the second book I've read by Barry and I am seriously swooning. I'm staggered by his prose. He's one of the few writers I've read who can take the words of our common language, toss them up into the air & by the time they sashay back to earth Magic is Afoot. Is he bending the words to his will, transcribing celestial whispers, or maybe showing off some bad-ass alchemy? Don't know, don't care.All I know is I may not be able to save myself for other books. Barry's writing is too beauti [...]
I loved the narrator, Lilly. (She was born Lilly Dunne, daughter of the unforgettable James Dunne, Chief Supt. of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, originally created in Barry's THE STEWARD OF CHRISTENDOM; she was thus the sister of Willie, Annie, and Maud, known to readers of STEWARD and some of Barry's previous novels.) I loved the way the narrative was set up - as 17 days of Lilly mourning her grandson, with her memories of her past reflected on during those days. I especially loved the way Bar [...]
Lovely. Lilly Bere tells her story, looking back on her 89 years, in the 17 days after the burial of her grandson. This is a sad story that says much more than Lilly is telling. I really enjoyed Lilly's voice, her outlook, her lovely descriptions & observations. Throughout her life, Lilly is confronted with hope, betrayal, love, fear and always she carries on. Sebastian Barry tells enough of her story to entrance but leaves some details to be filled in by the reader's imagination. The combin [...]
“What use was the lighthouse’s light to those on land, I never knew, giving light to heather and fields, but really desiring to put that moon path of silver light along the tundras and swells of the Wicklow sea” (19).“Oh yes I am thinking the human soul is a very slight thing, and not much evolution has gone into it I fear. It is a vague slight notion with not even a proper niche in the body. And yet is the only thing we have that God will measure” (25).“…I traipsed back the way I [...]
What can I say, I read two of Barry's books in a week, and I just want more of them. He is a poet, a genius with words. Lillly's life is full of beauty and tragedy: losses almost too much to bear.
On the first day after her grandson Billy dies, Lilly Bere, eighty-nine years old, starts writing down the story of her life before she intends to put an end to it.Over the next seventeen days she writes in her accounts book a story that starts in Ireland before World War I and ends in America during the gulf war.Before Lilly was twenty years old she had to flee Ireland with the man she loved when the violence let loose in the country is threatening her and Tadg Bere’s lives.Once in America li [...]
Beautifully written and vivid, but ultimately I didn't find this book satisfying. One review suggested that reading the book was "like trying to find a story in a beautiful poem", & indeed I often felt like Lily Bere's tale of repetitive loss and domestic tragedy seemed to miss the most potentially interesting stories. Joe's tale, in particular, was something I wish I could have read (instead of, y'know, this one) since it seemed there was so much more conflict there, so much more moral cha [...]
If you like this book, either you know nothing about Ireland, or you subscribe to the shabbiest clichés. There aren't any other options.The book has some real empathy and emotion, and it is written tenderly, as Colm Toibín says. But the onslaught of clichés begins on the first page and never lets up. At first I thought it was ironic, and later I hoped it might be an attempt to create a period feeling, but the clichés are unremitting. There are entire pages made up of nothing but clichés abo [...]